Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don Mock's Stevens LJ Guitar

Don Mock 10/24/2005 12:48 AM
I get a lot of questions about the guitar I've used in most of my videos and performances. Check out:
-Don Mock

Tung 11/21/2005 1:37 PM
Hi Don, For years I've been wondering how you got all the sounds on your instructional recordings. I have all of your instructional materials and it's amazing that you always seem to get a really good distorted sound and a warm hollow body tone as well, were they all done on the LJ? ( I'm referring to the Melodic and Harmonic Minor books)Anyway, not flog the same guitar questions to death, but can you fill us in on the LJ set up? Like picks and strings, effects and amps?Thanks for being a great teacher,Tung

Don Mock 11/21/2005 10:26 PM
Thanks for the post Tung. Hope you check out the article I wrote about the LJ guitar on the Stevens site. I think the LJ was the only guitar I used on the Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor books. There might be some acoustic on the beginning of the Harmonic Minor, but everything else is the Stevens. For most of the teaching stuff, I plugged direct into a Roland VS-880 digital recorder. The distorted sounds I think are the Stevens plugged straight into a Fender Twin that's mic'd. The effects are either from the VS-880 or Cubase in my computer where I mix from the recorder. I did use a Tele a bit on my later "Symmetric Scales" book and on some of the Masterclass books. I now use a POD for direct recording and also Pro Tools but the Stevens still sounds best just direct. The custom Duncan neck pickup Michael Stevens put in the guitar (and probably the wood and body shape) has an amazing hollow-body like tone. I use D'Addario XL strings, 11-14-18-28-38-49. I've been sticking an .011.5 for the high E to get a bit more tone. As far as picks go, I make my own plexi-glass picks. Years ago when I was spending time with Pat Martino, when he joined us at GIT, I got into his "stone' agate picks. Ever since I have to have very stiff picks and there's no commercially made ones that I like. The ones I make are shaped like a standard Fender pick but a bit longer and narrower. Takes me 5 minutes to make one, I just trace out the shape, rough cut it out on a band saw and final shape it on a belt sander. I've been making picks from the same 2 x 2ft sheet of plexi-glass for nearly 20 years. Thanks again for the post Tung, and keep the questions coming. -Don Mock

Tung 11/22/2005 11:00 AM
Thanks so much for the info, Don. I actually learned something else from working on your books regarding my gear. For years I main workhorse has been an ES-175 with flatwounds 13's. It's a great jazz machine, but trying to do some of your intervallic ideas at quick tempo on that is very challenging, so I started working on your stuff with my 81 Les Paul, and boom! much easier but I miss the authentic jazz-Wes feel of the flatwound/hollow body tone. the reason I brought this up is that I noticed you used to use hollow body archtops earlier on, but now you have switched to solidbody LJ and Teles as well? Did you encounter similar experiences? Anyway, just want to say that your books have singlehandedly changed the way I approach jazz improvisation. From your ideas I have developed my own style, fingerings and fretboard mappings. I have a Hons BA in music, done both college and universities with jazz as my major, yet none of this formal training really brought it home in a real practical sense, until I started working on your books. Now I even use it to teach some of my advance students, some of whom are doing their own music degrees at the moment. Thanks again for the great teachings.Tung

Vettestrat 1/25/2006 7:02 PM
Hey Don, I love your lessons, you're quite the inspiration. What is the synth guitar you used at the end of the "Blues from Rock to Jazz" video? Thanks.

Don Mock 1/29/2006 12:29 AM
The double-neck synth guitar is a custom instrument I designed and was built by luthier Lane Moller. It's actually two guitar synths in one. The top neck uses the electronics from one of the first attempts at guitar synths called a Patch 2000 by Ampeg. The frets and the strings are wired and when the string makes contact on the fret the synth is triggered. I worked hard for a few years perfecting the right-hand hammering technique but it had lots of limitations. My right hand usually worked a pitch-bend knob to add vibrato and bends. The strings are deadened with felt and no tuning was necessary. I could use all E strings and only used the tuning gears to set the tension of the strings for the hammering technique. The strings only job was to carry voltage to the frets. The tracking is instant, and I used to play more notes-per-square inch than any guitar player ever dreamed. But no dynamics and no chords. It is a monophonic and monodynamic instrument. But I had lots of fun through the '80's playing that heavy guitar. The bottom neck is a regular guitar but did have a Roland system build in so I could play chords and synth lines with guitar. It was not a midi instrument (except for the Roland part).Now days I've retired the double neck in favor of the basic Roland systems and normal guitar technique. I considered converting the double neck to some kind of midi controller but musically the top neck is just too difficult to play bop and swing feels with only my right hand. But it's a great rock and roll toy! I might get it out of the closet sometime just to freak people out. -Don Mock

Don Mock 1/31/2006 11:57 PM
I meant "left hand hammering technique" not right on the above post. I'll try to post a tune where I played the double neck so you can hear it. -Don Mock

turner 9/14/2006 2:25 AM
id like to hear some of that crazy guitar your talking about of love stuff like that with the synth in all and thanks for the lesson on guitar I play my heart out all the day long and any new things really inspire me I’ve been play for about 5 or 6 years and iv kind of floated around the same kind of style of playing and the stuff on this website really broadened my horizon thanks, any way id live two hear that synth guitar

danepaul 2/6/2008 9:05 PM
Hi Don, I was wondering what do you use for your rhythm/drum tracks for your instructional books and videos? I’m looking to get something to jam/record with. Thanks for your help.Dane

Don Mock 2/8/2008 2:31 PM
Dane, In the past I've been using midi recording software called Vision which is no longer available. All of the drum, bass and keyboard parts are triggered from the Mac G4 to several synth modules including three different Roland guitar synths. Everything was recorded and mixed into a Roland VS-880 digital recorder. But now-days I use a Pro-Tools system and can do midi parts on it along with audio. But there are so many great systems out there that don't cost too much you can't go wrong. Thanks - Don Mock

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr Mock
    I am from Greece and i am chemistry teacher
    Please inform if you will make a Mike Bloomfield guitar tab book. There isnt such a book. Specially for Super Session -Albert shuffle and Really. Please tell me, if you can not make it, how can i find (i cant at the moment)-Albert shuffle- and -Really- and Shuggie Otis -slowgoon bash blues-guitar tabs
    and how can i pay you Thank you in advance-John Zacharakis (